Below is the full text of incoming Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams’ speech, as prepared. To see our full slideshow of pictures, click HERE.
It is an honor and a privilege for me to take the oath of office and to begin my public service as Salt Lake County’s fourth mayor.
I am a son of Utah and a proud resident of Salt Lake County. It’s where my wife, Julie, and I have chosen to live and to raise our family and—following in the footsteps of other Utahns I admire–it’s where I’ve chosen to give something back.
Taking this oath today is a responsibility that I wholeheartedly embrace. Holding public office requires fulfilling the trust given to me by the voters of this County and upholding the public trust over my term in office.
My job is to represent you, the people of Salt Lake County– 40 percent of Utah’s rapidly growing population. My job is to listen to you, share ideas with you and work with you to ensure that our county is the best place to live in the Intermountain West.
The 1.1 million people who live, work, worship and play in this valley demand and expect a mayor who leads a county government that runs efficiently and effectively, in an open, honest and transparent manner. From Mayor Peter Corroon, I inherit a strong foundation and following his lead, I commit to heading a County government that operates by the highest ethical standard. I believe Salt Lake County government can be the sturdy, reliable frame within which each person can create his or her own individual portrait of faith, family and personal achievement and happiness.
Today is when I officially begin to deliver on the promises I made to you during my campaign.
I promised to operate as a fiscal conservative. I understand that you want your county government leaders to spend your hard-earned tax dollars frugally and wisely. Residents expect and deserve to go about their daily lives safely, whether it’s walking their neighborhood streets, playing with their children in public parks, or receiving rapid emergency response. On my watch, I pledge to deliver the services you deserve with the lowest possible tax bill.
I promised that I would be bipartisan and bring all political viewpoints to the table. My appointments have included Democrats, Republicans and Independents. I pledge to work across the aisle with County Council members and city mayors of all political stripes and geographic locales –from north, south, east or west in the county.
I promised to listen and to involve all stakeholders in discussions about county policies. One thing I heard on the campaign was a plea from residents in the unincorporated county not to be overlooked or to be less of a priority than those who receive city services. I have already taken steps to find efficiencies, structure leadership and to clarify the roles of two governments operating public works departments. I’ll continue to focus on providing top notch service to all residents –both in cities and unincorporated townships.
I stand before you today, humbled by the knowledge that no one—be it a mayor, the CEO of Apple, a winning coach, or a President—makes it alone. I know I’m not unique in my life of having been blessed with encouragement and support from family members, teachers, Scout leaders, and community figures.
Judge Andrew Valdez, who agreed to swear me in today, personifies that for me and has described it very movingly in his book, “No One Makes it Alone.”
At its heart, the story is the experience of an old man and a boy. It begins with a street corner meeting between print shop owner Jack Keller and 11-year-old Andy. In the book after an early, somewhat philosophical discussion between the two, Keller says to Andy, “Right now you and I got a deal – work, tennis and…taking on the world. Whether we are Mormons, Catholic or from the moon, no one makes it alone, Andy.”
Later in the book, after tennis practice and a meal together, Jack reflected on the circumstance of a childless adult and a fatherless boy. He thought to himself, “the best feeling of all was to be needed. Without that, you didn’t really have anything of value. Without that, your whole time of living didn’t mean very much at all.”
I believe I bring to the job of Mayor some of what Salt Lake County needs at this time in history. Over the next several decades, our population is expected to double. How will we ensure there is clean, affordable drinking water for a growing population? How will our infrastructure keep pace, to help avoid congestion, gridlock, and perpetually smoggy skies? How will economic development help promote the well-paying jobs for our graduates? And how will we use technology and innovation to provide basic government services without creating unnecessary red tape and burdensome taxes?
We have inherited this place from pioneers and immigrants—men and women who took a risk, blazed a trail, put down roots, and left their mark. I am optimistic that—working together– we can build on their foundation and, as historian Hugh W. Nibley wrote about the Mormon settlement, “prepare a fit habitation, an environment and an economy stable enough to last a thousand years.”
Please join me. Let’s work together to build Salt Lake
County’s future, with opportunity for all.